The 2012 Cheltenham Festival gets underway with a sensational renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and it looks to be one of the most fascinating races of the meeting.
Cousin Vinny, Dunguib and Cue Card have all dominated the betting for the Supreme in the last three years, but in the absence of any short priced favourites in next week’s contest, Darlan (5/1, Paddy Power
) currently heads the market. Remember you can get your money back with Betfred
if Darlan wins the race.
The market leader finds himself at the top of the pile after a horrendous fall in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last time out and though he looked to be tanking in a race that was eventually won by Zarkandar, it’s hard to have too much faith in a horse that was last seen having a crashing fall.
The likes of Steps To Freedom, Cinders And Ashes and Montbazon (who is reportedly working incredibly well for Alan King) will all take their chance, but it could be worth siding with the inexperienced, but very classy, GALILEO’S CHOICE
Dermot Weld’s Irish raider brings some very high class flat form to the table and the six-year-old was seen winning a Group Three at Leopardstown in September. Other runs saw him finish third behind Aidan O’Brien’s Fame And Glory and in front of Luska Lad and he has taken to hurdles impressively this season.
He kicked off the campaign with a second behind Willie Mullins’ Sous Les Cieux (20/1,Sportingbet
) but anybody who saw that race at Fairyhouse would be hard pressed to say that Galileo’s Choice wouldn’t reverse the form over better ground. Indeed, it was testament to how much ability Galileo’s Choice possesses that he managed to get so close to the winner in such testing conditions.
His last performance in February saw the selection stroll to victory in the perfect Cheltenham prep and he jumped fluently before quickening away in some style. He will relish the good ground at Cheltenham and though his inexperience will worry his supporters, at 8/1 his class could be enough to get him through a wide open race and he rates a good each-way bet.
Nick Wilby’s selection
– Galileo’s Choice
8/1, Blue Square
(Bet on the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Betfred
and get your money back if Darlan wins)